NAPLAN New Reports

by admin | 20th July 2023 |

From 2023 NAPLAN reports are changing to using 4 proficiency levels instead of the usual bands.

In this blog we will discuss:

  •     NAPLAN- basic information
  •     What is covered in NAPLAN
  •    Students’ reports (old reports vs. new reports)
  •    The bands vs. proficiency levels
  •    Example of year 3 mathematics student report old vs. new
  •    Is the change helpful or not?
  •   What to do when the results are out

What is NAPLAN?

NAPLAN stands for the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy. It’s an annual assessment for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. For students in these year groups, the tests typically take up to one week of the school year. Before 2008 it used to be called BASIC Skills Test. Some of the parents who have older kids might remember this name.

Every school is required to administer NAPLAN but parents who do not wish for their students to sit the test can choose to opt out. Given the benefits and the insights it offers, almost all Australian school students sit the NAPLAN tests.

NAPLAN is a national population test and provides a nationwide benchmark to assess whether students are developing the appropriate foundational literacy and numeracy skills needed to be productive members of the community.

Students sit the standardised NAPLAN tests each year in March (used to be in May until 2022).

What do the tests cover?

NAPLAN is aligned to the Australian Curriculum for English and Mathematics and covers four major areas:


Students read a range of informative, imaginative and persuasive texts and then answer related questions.


Students are provided with a ‘writing stimulus’ (sometimes called a ‘prompt’ – an idea or topic) and asked to write a response in a particular genre (narrative or persuasive writing).

Language Conventions

This test assesses spelling, grammar and punctuation.


This test assesses number and algebra, measurement and geometry, and statistics and probability.

Questions include both multiple choice and open-ended questions requiring short or long form responses. The duration of the tests varies depending on the year group.

Each student’s raw score on a test is scaled to allow for comparison against other students, resulting in overall NAPLAN scores.

Students reports (old reports vs. new reports)

Beginning this year (2023), parents and carers will receive information about their child’s NAPLAN performance that is based on new, more accurate national standards.

The new NAPLAN reports will use proficiency standards with four levels rather than the 10-band structure.

Old Reports (Reports between 2008 and 2022)

NAPLAN individual student reports from 2008 to 2022 used diagrams on pages 2 and 3 to show the relevant part of the measurement scale in bands for that year level:

  • Year 3 student reports showed bands 1–6. The national minimum standard was band 2.
  • Year 5 student reports showed bands 3–8. The national minimum standard was band 4.
  • Year 7 student reports showed bands 4–9. The national minimum standard was band 5.
  • Year 9 student reports showed bands 5–10. The national minimum standard was band 6.

Along with the national average score and the national minimum standard for each year level, the diagrams also displayed the range for the middle 60% of students.

On the report’s final page, a brief summary of what students typically demonstrated in the tests for each band was given.

The bands 2008 – 2022

The proficiency levels from 2023


Bands are now becoming proficiency achievements.

The numerical NAPLAN bands and the national minimum standard will be replaced by the following four levels of achievement:

  • Exceeding: The student’s result exceeds expectations
  • Strong: The student’s result meets challenging but reasonable expectations
  • Developing: The student’s result indicates that they are working towards expectations
  • Needs additional support: The student’s result indicates that they are not achieving the learning outcomes expected. They are likely to need additional support to progress satisfactorily.


Hummmm…. These proficiency levels ring a bell.


A few years ago, they were used in school reports. I remember a parent telling me “My daughter’s report always says she is working towards. But it does not tell me towards what.”

It seems that the use of proficiency levels in school reports has resurfaced. However, it appears that some parents still find them vague and unclear in terms of indicating specific areas for improvement. Perhaps there is a need for clearer communication between educators and parents regarding the expectations and goals associated with these proficiency levels.

Old reports (2008-2022)





This is how the report will look from 2023:


The new report will still display the national average for each test. We don’t see that the school average is shown in the example by ACARA. But I am confident it will be.

Example Year 3 – Numeracy report

Here is an example of what the proficiency levels translate for Year 3:

Year 3 Mathematics – Exceeding

The student can:

  • quantify and compare numbers beyond three digits
  • solve problems involving common fractions
  • use the relationship between addition and subtraction to solve problems
  • use known multiplication and related division facts to solve problems
  • determine an unknown value in a number sentence involving addition and/or subtraction
  • continue number patterns involving addition, subtraction or multiplication
  • measure attributes using metric units and scaled instruments including, but not limited to, length, mass, area, capacity, time and temperature
  • calculate duration of time
  • solve problems using features of combined 2D shapes and 3D objects
  • locate and describe positions and pathways on a map using the relative position of key features
  • identify and compare information in tables or graphs, where one object represents many data values.

Year 3 Mathematics – Strong

The student can:

  • quantify and compare one-, two- and three-digit numbers
  • continue patterns using shapes or objects or by adding or subtracting a constant in a number pattern
  • represent and describe quantities using standard place value partitioning
  • interpret common fractions as equal parts of a whole and determine a fraction of a shape, object or collection
  • solve simple addition and/or subtraction problems and number sentences
  • solve simple multiplication or division problems
  • measure and compare attributes using uniform, informal units including, but not limited to, length, area, mass and capacity
  • read time on clocks to the nearest minute
  • solve problems using a calendar
  • convert between common units of time
  • identify features of 2D shapes and 3D objects
  • give and follow directions and use relative positions to describe a location on a map or plan
  • represent information in data displays including, but not limited to, tables or graphs where one object represents one data value.

Numeracy Year 3 – Developing

The student can:

  • quantify and compare collections to 100
  • determine halves, quarters and eighths of a whole
  • add and subtract one- and two-digit numbers
  • solve simple multiplication and related division problems including those represented as repeated addition, equal groups and arrays
  • identify number sentences to represent problems using addition, subtraction or multiplication
  • continue increasing and decreasing number patterns
  • measure and compare attributes using uniform, informal units including, but not limited to, length, mass and capacity
  • read time on a digital and analog clock to the hour and half hour
  • order events by their duration
  • name and compare common 2D shapes and 3D objects, using their features
  • describe location using everyday positional language on maps and plans
  • interpret, compare and complete data displays including, but not limited to, tally tables, simple picture graphs and tables
  • identify the most appropriate question to gather specific information.

Numeracy Year 3 – Needs additional support

The student can:

  • connect quantities, number names and numerals to 20
  • identify halves and quarters of a shape, object or small collection
  • add and subtract simple one- and two-digit numbers to 20
  • continue a pattern with objects, shapes or numbers, including skip counting by 2 and 5
  • use direct and indirect measurement to compare attributes including, but not limited to, length
  • order familiar events by time
  • sort and classify 2D shapes and 3D objects using their features
  • identify and interpret location using relative position and ordinal language
  • interpret data displays including, but not limited to, tally tables and simple picture graphs
  • classify information gathered by questioning.

Huummmm… All positive

The above is written with a positive tone, informing parents of what their child is capable of.

But how can I as a parent tell what my child needs help with? especially if it’s my first child, if I’m a parent who’s new to Australia and doesn’t know what subjects need to be covered, or even if I’m a parent who can’t figure out how the curriculum loops together? Again, it is leaving parents in the dark.


Hummmmmm… We lost the comparison!

Results from 2023 on will not be directly compared with results from 2008 to 2022, according to the ACARA media release and parent guide. Therefore, parents won’t be able to compare the results of 2023 with those of earlier years. which leads us to the big question:

Is the change helpful?

By bringing the NAPLAN testing earlier in the year, it allows for more timely intervention and targeted support for students who may be struggling. This can lead to improved academic outcomes and overall student growth. However, without the ability to compare their performance to previous years, it becomes challenging for parents to gauge their child’s progress over time and identify areas of improvement. Therefore, striking a balance between releasing results earlier and maintaining access to historical data would be beneficial for all stakeholders involved.

What about the levels of proficiency? I’m not sure if that will be of much use. According to ACARA, it is easier to understand and use for parents. That is what they previously said about the bands.

What should I do when the results are out?

Let me share a little secret with you – the national average can be deceiving! It may lead us to believe that if our child is performing above this average, they are excelling academically. However, the truth is that the national average is not as high as one might think.

As parents, we all want what’s best for our children. We aspire for them to reach their full potential and thrive in their educational journey. That’s why it’s essential to set our sights beyond just meeting expectations.

Rather than settling for mediocrity, we need to aim higher. Our goal should be for our children to achieve proficiency levels that go above and beyond what is considered “average.” We should strive for them to be at the Exceeding proficiency level or at least at the Strong proficiency level.

To help your child unlock their true potential, we offer a range of resources and support tailored specifically to their needs. From personalised tutoring sessions to engaging workshops, we’re here to ensure they excel in every subject and surpass even their own expectations.

Remember, it’s not about comparing your child against an arbitrary average; it’s about nurturing their individual talents and helping them flourish beyond conventional measures of success.

Red flags

If you discover that your child is performing at the lowest two proficiency levels (rather than just the lowest level), this is cause for concern and requires action.

An intervention plan is crucial at this stage. Whether it involves implementing a tailored learning plan at home or seeking professional help from a reputable tutoring centre, acting sooner rather than later is key. Remember, prevention is always better than cure!

By strengthening your child’s core skills – including Maths, English, and Writing – from an early age, you’ll give them the solid foundation they need to succeed academically and beyond.

Don’t wait! Take charge of your child’s future today and set them up for lifelong success. We’re here to support you every step of the way.

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